Cyclingnews Roundup - 6 things to know from the week to November 18

Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) had his bike stolen this week. It turned up three hours later.
Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) had his bike stolen this week. It turned up three hours later. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

1. Geraint Thomas' bike stolen, found three hours later

What happened? Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) was enjoying a coffee during a break from his training ride in Menton, France when his bike was stolen. The 2018 Tour de France winner posted a photo of himself taking a rideshare home on social media, announcing the theft and worse – the loss of a week's worth of training data left un-downloaded on the Garmin that was still on the now missing bike.

Why it matters: Bike theft has been rampant in Europe. €400,000 worth of Italy's Olympic team pursuit equipment was nicked during Worlds in Roubaix and later found in Romania. Thomas' Pinarello was found quickly by Menton police and returned to him, Garmin still intact. Ineos Grenadiers replied to Thomas' Instagram post promising to send a bike lock.

2. Froome was treated for parasitic worms after the 2021 Tour de France

Chris Froome during the Tour de France 2021

Chris Froome during the Tour de France 2021  (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

What happened? According to Israel Start-Up Nation team owner Sylvan Adams, Chris Froome suffered a return of the parasitic worm disease bilharzia and it caused him grief during the Tour de France. Froome said he had gut issues during the Tour and was later treated.

Why it's significant: Froome credited a diagnosis and treatment of a bilharzia infection with his sudden surge in form to become a Tour de France contender in 2011. Will this new treatment see the four-time Tour champion find his legs again?

3. Giro d’Italia director challenges Tadej Pogacar to attempt Giro-Tour double

Il Lombardia 2021 - 115th Edition - Como - Bergamo 239 km - 09/10/2021 - Tadej Pogacar (SLO - UAE Team Emirates) - Fausto Masnada (ITA - Deceuninck - Quick-Step) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

 Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

What happened? Giro d'Italia director Mauro Vegni threw down a challenge to two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar to attempt to win the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in the same year – the Giro-Tour double.

Why it's significant: The Tour de France is much bigger than the Giro, and to get a champion like Pogačar in the race would be a boost for Vegni. However, the Giro keeps upping its difficulty making a double less feasible – the full 2022 route was announced last week with less time trialling and more climbs. The last successful double was Marco Pantani in 1998.

4. COVID-19 is still giving race organisers headaches

The beer taps hardly ever stop flowing at the Ghent Six Day normally (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

What happened? The Netherlands entered new lockdowns which barred spectators from major sporting events amid surging case counts, worrying to the two Dutch UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup organisers in Rucphen (December 18) and Hulst (January 4). The Ghent Six Day had to (gasp!) ban beer sales on the track infield and the Tour of Colombia is facing another cancellation.

Why it's significant: Spectators are a major source of revenue in cyclo-cross and beer sales are especially lucrative at the Six Days. The races were already affected last year, with the Six Day cancelled and the World Cups without spectators.

5. Afghan cycling federation doxed a journalist and threatens riders

Afghanistan Cycling Federation President Fazli Ahmad Fazli with the UCI Merit in September 2021

(Image credit: Fazli Ahmad Fazli/Facebook)

What happened? A report was published on CyclingTips that questioned the role that Afghan Cycling Federation president Fazli Ahmad Fazli played in helping to identify vulnerable cyclists for evacuation after the Taliban seized power in August.

Why it's significant: The UCI, who gave Fazli a UCI Merit in September for his role in helping to develop women's cycling in the face of cultural taboos, relied on Fazli to identify riders for evacuation. 

6. Wout van Aert race win NFTs sell for €47,000

Belgian Wout Van Aert of Team JumboVisma celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 21 and last stage of the 108th edition of the Tour de France cycling race 1084 km from Chatou to Paris in France Sunday 18 July 2021 This years Tour de France takes place from 26 June to 18 July 2021BELGA PHOTO DAVID STOCKMAN Photo by DAVID STOCKMANBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) takes the win on the final stage of the 2021 Tour de France (Image credit: David Stockman/Belga/AFP/Getty Images)

What the heck is an NFT? Non-fungible tokens  – a type of digital asset typically purchased with cryptocurrency – are a way for people with too much money on their hands to park their wealth in works of art or collectables like the three images of Van Aert winning stages of the Tour de France and Strade Bianche.

Why it's significant: Amid the COP26 climate conference and calls for pro cycling to clean up its carbon act, this marketing of NFTs has brought a lot of criticism Van Aert's way. The blockchain technology used to create cryptocurrency and to certify NFTs emits as much carbon as the whole of New Zealand each year, largely because most of the computational resources are in coal-burning China.

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